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How to get more from my HD555s

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So I have a set of HD555 that I love, but reading around it seems that I could be getting more out of them with a dedicated sound card instead of the onboard audio with my computer.

My main interest is gaming and music. I want to get more out of my opera, big band, and jazz, as well as better sound staging for my FPS games. Can anyone suggest a sound card for this purpose? I don't know that I need a $200 Zonar, but if that is going to be worth it, I'll happily lay down the money. I have both PCI and PCIe slots available in my computer, so no worries there. Also, I hate the 6.3-3.5mm converter; do any cards have a 6.3mm so that I don't have to use the converter?
Big Dog
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Big Dog
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post #2 of 13
tbh I don't really have much experience with other sound cards but the Essence STX sounds great with my HD555's much better than my old X-Fi and the difference is night and day over onboard.

I thought about selling it recently and switched back to onboard for a day but it sucked for gaming :l I could barely hear footsteps and other details no matter how much I tweaked settings.

Oh and there is no need for a 3.5mm adapter with the Essence.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks! One vote for laying down the 200 and getting the essense stx for my application. Anyone else?
Big Dog
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Big Dog
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Linux Mint / Win7 Pro Dell U3011 and 2007WFP  Filco Ninja Tenkeyless, red switches Crosair TX950W 
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post #4 of 13
I am getting pretty enjoyable sound on HD555s straight out of my laptops Realtek HD269. Frankly, if you like what you hear and you can't hear discernible distortions, there is no point to upgrade. This of course depends on your rig. I have seen systems with absolutely disgusting onboard audio, where moving a mouse would introduce a buzz into the headphones and playing music at high volume still was not load enough, and others were just fine. In the end you have to decide if your current sound is good enough.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
What has inspired me to upgrade is that the sound is flat, and I know my 555s are better than this. There is minimal sound staging, and everything is sort of fuzzy on the edges. Nothing is sharp and crisp, there and then gone. I know the 555s are capable of more because loss-less music on my ipod sounds better than it does on my computer.

In games it's really noticeable because the sound effects are meant to be behind me, or above me, and instead they sound like they right in front of me. All effects happen in that same plane a couple inches in front of my face.

I don't really care about making the 555s louder; I just want more clarity and better staging.
Big Dog
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Linux Mint / Win7 Pro Dell U3011 and 2007WFP  Filco Ninja Tenkeyless, red switches Crosair TX950W 
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Big Dog
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Linux Mint / Win7 Pro Dell U3011 and 2007WFP  Filco Ninja Tenkeyless, red switches Crosair TX950W 
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post #6 of 13
all depends on budget..yes, a sound card would help immensely.
post #7 of 13
Hey, it looks like you have come to a stage where you are beginning to see why the Sennheisers are really used for professional use!

The flat sound you are getting is the staple Sennheiser reference sound, however you are correct in assuming that a sound card will enhance your experience.
If you are planning to buy one, i would recommend one that has a respectable impedance and a variable efficiency modulator.

If you were to look up the specs of your HD555s(i have the 595s so i can look up the box hehe) you will see 50Ω of impedance as a rating. This means that the headphones require a far greater amount of power to sound better. This is a good thing! Sennheiser presumes that you are using these headphones on an amp and designed them to sound better when using it with a higher power output.

Therefore, investing in a good high impedance sound card would do you good. Since, even though 50 is relatively high for headphones, it is still low for the high end ones you find(sometimes 600Ω). If you did not however, the highs and the mids would get wonky and you would find yourself irritating by sibilance(the odd buzzing).

The Xonar Essence STX is a sound card i currently have, its around 190 but if you can go for the revised ST which is around 200. If you are uncomfortable going with ASUS you may have to shell out more, as you will get into the non-main stream amp area.
Hope this helps. GL
Bernard
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Bernard
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post #8 of 13
Well, if you care about the games that use OpenAL API, then it's a good idea to get a good sound card from ASUS or Creative. The reason is that software OpenAL implementation does not implement that HTRFs that let you discern between the sounds that come from front or back. It's kind of stupid. If there was just one skilled programmer who'd implement the HRTFs in the open source version of OpenAL, 90% of people who buy them right now would not have no reason buy a sound card. And apparently, it's not that hard. There is an OSS HRTF support for UrbanTerror 4.1 for example.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by esp42089 View Post
What has inspired me to upgrade is that the sound is flat, and I know my 555s are better than this. There is minimal sound staging, and everything is sort of fuzzy on the edges. Nothing is sharp and crisp, there and then gone. I know the 555s are capable of more because loss-less music on my ipod sounds better than it does on my computer.
This is an indication of a poor on-board sound.

Quote:
In games it's really noticeable because the sound effects are meant to be behind me, or above me, and instead they sound like they right in front of me. All effects happen in that same plane a couple inches in front of my face.

I don't really care about making the 555s louder; I just want more clarity and better staging.
Those effects sound better with a sound card, because as I mentioned above, the software implementations of OpenAL do not even try to implement that kind of functionality.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys.

So the ST is better? If I go ST, I will need to buy a PCIe-1x wifi card, but that isn't really that expensive.

I have no preference for ASUS or any other company, so whatever you think will be best for my uses. I also am only limited within reason on budget(for me, less than $500), so that's not really a concern I think.

I'm liking the Essense a lot right now. Getting rid of the stupid 6.3-3.5 adapter will be a huge bonus, and the built in amp holds a lot of appeal to me as well.

I have heard replacing the cables on the HD555 really help the sound, but this obviously would be a step after the sound card. Do you have any input on this? Would I maybe want to add some impedence as well? Maybe up to 150ohms or so?
Big Dog
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4790k at 4.5GHz Asus Maximus VII Hero AMD Firepro W7000 Silicon Power 2 x 8Gb 2400 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
2xWD 1Tb 64Mb RAID 1 Samsung 840 Evo 250Gb Samsung DVD Under water 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux Mint / Win7 Pro Dell U3011 and 2007WFP  Filco Ninja Tenkeyless, red switches Crosair TX950W 
CaseMouseAudio
CM HAF932 Razer Death Adder Asus Essense STX, HD555 
  hide details  
Reply
Big Dog
(16 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4790k at 4.5GHz Asus Maximus VII Hero AMD Firepro W7000 Silicon Power 2 x 8Gb 2400 
Hard DriveHard DriveOptical DriveCooling
2xWD 1Tb 64Mb RAID 1 Samsung 840 Evo 250Gb Samsung DVD Under water 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Linux Mint / Win7 Pro Dell U3011 and 2007WFP  Filco Ninja Tenkeyless, red switches Crosair TX950W 
CaseMouseAudio
CM HAF932 Razer Death Adder Asus Essense STX, HD555 
  hide details  
Reply
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